The Best Journalism Summer Programs for High School Students

Communication skills are highly useful in nearly all careers. In addition, the majority of employers and college admission officials strongly favor applicants who can demonstrate an excellent command of language, especially in writing. 

If you are considering going to college to study journalism, or even pursuing a career in this field immediately after graduating from high school, then attending a great summer program for journalism is an amazing way to prepare yourself. 

In addition to honing your written communication skills, journalism summer programs allow students to connect with peers with similar interests, learn about what careers in the field entail, receive valuable insight from industry professionals, and so much more.

There are many different summer journalism programs out there, with some being open to all high school students, others focusing on particular age groups. 

Generally speaking, journalism summer programs offer students the chance to develop interview skills, learn how to write about current events, utilize professional equipment to create newscasts, and receive career mentorship from leaders in the field. 

Here, we have compiled a list of some of the best journalism summer programs for high school students. Read on to discover the many benefits of participating in these stellar programs, learn about what each program entails, and learn about eligibility, cost, and more. 

Columbia University Summer Journalism Workshop (New York, NY)

Columbia University
Beyond My Ken, 2014 Columbia University Morningside Heights campus from northeast, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ranking among the top 20 universities in the United States according to US News and World Report’s annual college rankings, Columbia University is an amazing school that offers one of the best journalism summer programs out there. 

Open to students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school, the Columbia University Summer Journalism Workshop is a five-day intensive program offered both on campus in New York, NY, and online. 

The workshop has been held by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association on an annual basis for 40 years and counting. 

Each year, the university accepts only 175 students to be a part of the Summer Journalism Workshop, making admission to the program highly selective.

Students in the workshop choose from among four areas of study: writing, editing, advanced design, and management. 

Arizona State University Summer Journalism Institute (Phoenix, AZ)

A part of Arizona State University — the #1 university in the state, according to Niche — the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers a variety of summer programs for high schoolers. 

One of these is the Summer Journalism Institute, a two-week intensive program in which high school students have the opportunity to write news stories, create newscasts, and make other forms of multimedia content.

Open to high school students of all ages, the Summer Journalism Institute offers students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in both digital and traditional journalism. 

The program is free of cost for all students who are admitted; however, admission to the program is competitive, as space is quite limited.

ASU is home to Arizona PBS, the largest university-operated media outlet in the world.

Princeton Summer Journalism Program (Princeton, NJ)

Princeton University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program is one of the best programs of its kind, offered by the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity at Princeton.  

The PJSP is intended to offer students from low-income backgrounds the opportunity to participate in workshops and attend lectures by Princeton’s world-class faculty and alumni, as well as professional journalists. 

Each year, only 40 high school juniors are admitted to PSJP. 

The year-long program is unique in that it is intended to serve as both journalistic training and college preparation. During their senior year of high school, participants are paired with a personal college admission adviser to support them in the application process.

The culmination of the summer program consists of a 10-day residential experience at the school’s campus in New Jersey. During this time, attendees are responsible for creating the Princeton Summer Journal, an annual newspaper published by students in the program.

The New York Times NYC Summer Academy (New York, NY)

One of the most prominent newspapers in the United States, the New York Times holds one of the most prestigious, rigorous summer journalism programs out there.  

The New York Times NYC Summer Academy is a two-week intensive program generally held throughout June and July. The program is open to students entering sophomore year through senior year, as well as graduating seniors. 

Summer Academy tuition is $5,975 for students who choose to stay in the program’s college dorm-like residence halls. For day students, the program costs $5,325.

There are several different courses from which students can choose, such as photojournalism, podcasting, and political commentary. There are also several unique options, like courses focusing on diversity in journalism, food culture, environmental reporting, streetwear and fashion, and many more.

NYU Urban Journalism Workshop (New York, NY)

Offered at the prestigious New York University, the NYU Urban Journalism Workshop enrolls up to 20 high school juniors and seniors each year. 

The program runs for 10 days, generally held during July. In order to be eligible for the Urban Journalism Workshop, students must be at least 16 years of age and attend a high school in the New York City metropolitan area.

During the program, students get to live in East Village in one of the university’s residence halls. They also have the opportunity to meet with professional journalists and visit the newsrooms of the most highly-revered publications in the city.

Students in the program get the chance to write news pieces that are published on the workshop’s website, The Spectrum.

On top of that, Urban Journalism Workshop participants also get the chance to receive valuable advice about the college application process from admissions counselors at NYU. 

UGA Multimedia Journalism Summer Academy (Athens, GA)

University of Georgia Campus
Coxonian, Terry College UGA, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Georgia — an amazing college ranking in the top 20 public universities in the United States —  has a number of superb summer journalism programs for high school students. 

One of these is the Multimedia Journalism Summer Academy, offered through the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

It is a five-day intensive program in which students learn not just about journalistic writing, but also interviewing skills, editing, and producing video content. Other areas of focus include social media storytelling, visual journalism, and web design.  

UGA’s Multimedia Journalism Summer Academy is open to students between the ages of 13 and 17. 

Summer Academy tuition is $1,090 for residential students. For those who opt to attend the program only during the day, rather than staying on campus, the cost of attendance is just $440.

Boston University Summer Journalism Academy (Boston, MA)

The Boston University College of Communication is home to the Summer Journalism Academy, an immersive program for high school students interested in learning more about journalism, photography, or writing. 

BU’s Summer Journalism Academy is offered in two different formats. The residential program option is three weeks long, open to students entering their junior or senior year of high school who have an established background in journalism or similar fields. 

The other option is an online program that runs for just two weeks and is open to students in grades 10 through 12, regardless of prior experience. 

Students who opt for the in-person Summer Journalism Academy can choose between two areas of focus: photojournalism or news reporting and writing.

The Summer Journalism Academy is run by working journalists, providing students with valuable insight into a day in the life of professionals in the field. 

Medill Cherubs (Evanston, IL)

Offered at Northwestern University, the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute is a five-week summer intensive program open to rising high school senior students interested in pursuing a journalism career or majoring in journalism during college.

The program, which is also known as Medill Cherubs, is primarily intended for those who have prior experience with journalism, including radio, television, newspaper, yearbook, or any other media format. 

In addition to learning the fundamentals of news reporting, writing, and editing by means of completing various assignments, Medill Cherubs also get the opportunity to hone digital media skills, such as photojournalism, video production, and even computer coding.

All students are paired with a mentor for the duration of the program. Mentors meet with mentees on a weekly basis, providing constructive criticism on finished assignments. 

Cherubs stay on campus in Northwestern University’s residence halls.

Summer Springboard (Berkeley, CA)

According to Niche, the University of California – Berkeley is the #2 public university in the state of California, ranking among the top 5 colleges in the state in terms of program offerings relating to communications, English, and other journalism-adjacent areas of study. 

The prestigious school is home to an amazing summer journalism program for high school students, Summer Springboard. Each summer, the two-week program is offered three separate times from late June through late July. 

Summer Springboard emphasizes experiential learning, intending to offer students the opportunity to get an inside look at various different careers in journalism. Students who attend the program learn news reporting, writing, editing, and publishing, especially in the context of social media. 

At the end of the experience, Summer Springboard students create a final project incorporating various aspects of journalism, from blogging, to podcast reporting, video production, and more.

NSLC on Journalism (Washington, DC)

Established in 1989, the National Student Leadership Council offers a variety of career-based programs that aim to help high school students hone professional skills and become strong leaders. 

One of these programs is the High School Summer Journalism Program, also known as NSLC on Journalism. It is a nine-day program open to students enrolled in grades 9 through 12. 

Taking place in Washington, DC, the program offers students unique opportunities to cover major emerging news stories in the nation’s capital. 

In addition, students in the NSLC Summer Journalism Program get the chance to take trips to internationally-acclaimed media outlets, where they are able to make use of professional media equipment, meet with leading professionals, and get a taste of a day in the life of a DC journalist.